We left Stockholm and boarded a 45 flight to Helsinki on a turboprop plane. We took a taxi to Helsinki Central after our booked ride failed to turn up. It was Mid-Summer day and there was little traffic along the road into town.
We passed residential apartment blocks that looked straight out of the Soviet Union design book, rather dull and needing a good facelift. Our hotel was built late 19th century and has been redeveloped several times. We found it to be comfortable but in need of some attention to curtains and carpets.
Central Helsinki is very modern by any standard with lots of shopping centres, hotels and eating places.
Finland has a population of about 6 million, Helsinki about 1.4 million. Finland has about 188,000 lakes larger than 500 sq. metres and about 179,000 islands. 10% of Finland is covered by lakes, rivers etc. and 78% covered by forests.
This is our hotel, the Seuvahuone, which is situated opposite the central railway station. It was originally built in the 1820’s and has undergone several facelifts. The rooms were comfortable and clean with all modern facilities, but curtains and carpets could be updated.
This is the breakfast room in the hotel, which was once a ballroom with boxes for the guests. It was very grand and an excellent place to have breakfast.
This was a street scene hear our hotel, lovely wide streets with wide footpaths and bicycle lanes provided for the many cyclists.
This was a typical street in Helsinki. Note the cobble stones, the bike path alongside the road, the tram tracks and footpath, and the many trees.
This was the main thoroughfare through central Helsinki, but on a Saturday when most of the city residents were away at their holiday cabins to celebrate mid-summer holidays.
We went on a harbour cruise and passed many islands like the one above which prove to be very popular with the locals.
Don and I managed to find the flat where comrade Vladimir Lenin lived until April 1917, just after the Russian revolution, in which he was a major player until his death in Jan 1924.
This is yours truly at the site of comrade Lenin’s flat.
This is one of the many trams that service Helsinki, very comfortable and modern.
Finally I met this busker near the main city street. I didn’t get his name but dropped 5 Euros in his hat and took this wonderful photo. He sang with passion and sounded a bit like Tom Waits. I had the impression his songs were folk songs of either Finnish or Russian origin. I hope Pam has a recording of him singing and I will add it if possible.
Our Busker playing.
Next stop Warsaw.